Regular movement plays a role in each strategy, anchoring your day and getting you outside (if you’re able). Not only will regular aerobic activity help your body burn calories and condition your heart, it also keeps your mind focused and calm.
But there’s another form of exercise that’s equally important to the functioning of our body, especially as we age—resistance training.
Resistance training builds muscle mass and strength, which improves your ability to function in your daily life.
Exercises like calisthenics and yoga use your own body weight to build muscle, Pilates and weight lifting use props to create resistance.
With the recent business closures, you may have had to change your exercise routine. Here’s what I want you to know:
If you were doing weekly resistance training and you’ve stopped, you’ll lose the muscle mass you’ve built up incredibly quickly.
It’s one of the crueler realities of exercise—use it or lose it.
So if you’ve noticed the scale going down in the face of these circumstances (stopping your resistance training) the weight loss you see is likely muscle loss and not fat loss.
Losing muscle is a problem for two reasons: 1) loss of strength 2) loss of calorie burning ability.
Muscle is where an important portion of your metabolism comes from. More muscle=higher metabolism.
Our muscle mass reaches its peak in our 20’s then starts its steady decline. In fact, by our 40’s there’s a consistent loss of 1% of muscle mass per year. That’s if you’re not doing anything about it.
Luckily, the body maintains its ability to build muscle throughout our lifespan.
Maintaining muscle mass is the best thing you can do for the way your body looks and functions as it ages. And remember, maintaining muscle mass means building it every year to combat the age-related loss.
Making sure to get enough protein with each meal, committing to resistance training at least twice a week and getting adequate vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids will promote muscle growth.
SO USE SOME OF THIS TIME TO PROTECT AND GROW YOUR MUSCLE STRENGTH.
I’ve been doing Pilates for a year and a half now. I love it! It’s the perfect combination of strength building and lying down :)
My last Pilates class was on a Monday morning before the gyms and Pilates Studios shut down around me.
I figured I’d been doing the classes long enough that I could just do some exercises on my own. You know where this is going . . .
Each day I’d say I would fit in a set of planks. And each day I really didn’t feel like it—so I didn’t.
I was genuinely surprised by my lack of motivation and follow through, enough so that a week later when my Studio offered Zoom on-line classes, I signed right up.
Funny, I was able to do the whole 50-minute class no problem.
When someone was expecting me (and I’d already paid for the class), I showed up and worked out.
What a difference accountability makes.
It’s one thing to say I’ll do some planks when I have time and quite another to set aside an hour for training.
So if you’ve stopped your resistance training due to the home stay—restart now.
If you never did it before—time to start.
I highly recommend an accountability partner, whether that’s a teacher or a friend, find someone you’ll commit to so you have the extra incentive to get the job done.
Find a local yoga or Pilates studio and ask if they are offering on-line classes. Not only will you be supporting your local businesses in a time of need, you’ll be setting up a habit you can continue in person when all this is over.
For free exercise videos on-line check out www.fitnessblender.com